Abstract

The thermal contribution to the nonlinear refractive index of air at 1.064 µm was measured with a high-finesse Fabry–Perot cavity and a 500-mW cw laser beam. At room temperature and pressure, the nonlinear refractive-index coefficient of air was found to be n2th=-1.9±0.2×10-14 cm2/W for a beam waist radius of 0.23 mm and was found to be independent of the relative humidity. The thermal nonlinearities of N2, O2, and CO2 were also measured, and it was found that the dominant contribution to air is its O2 content.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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